Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Net Zero Watch: 'Massively split Cabinet' over UK's fossil fuel future


In this newsletter:

1) 'Massively split Cabinet' over UK's fossil fuel future
Sunday Express, 3 April 2022
2) Toyota threatens to pull out of UK manufacturing over net-zero plans
The Sunday Times, 3 April 2022

3) Government in talks to build ‘hundreds’ of mini-nuclear reactors across UK
The Sunday Telegraph, 3 April 2022
4) Stephen Glover: Net zero can wait. If we are to survive at all, we must ditch the Green dogma
Daily Mail, 4 April 2022
5) Camilla Tominey: Net Zero is a conspiracy against British voters
The Daily Telegraph, 2 April 2022
6) JJ Charlesworth: Net Zero insanity is turning London into a wasteland of ugly buildings
The Daily Telegraph, 2 April 2022
7) Francis Menton: China continues to laugh at Western "green energy" foolishness
Manhattan Contrarian, 2 April 2022

8) Irwin Stelzer: Soaring energy prices wake Joe Biden from his green dream

The Sunday Times, 3 April 2022
9) Andrew Orlowski: Green zealotry is stunting technological breakthroughs
The Daily Telegraph, 4 April 2022

Full details:

1) 'Massively split Cabinet' over UK's fossil fuel future
Sunday Express, 3 April 2022
A major Cabinet split over whether to use fossil fuel reserves in Britain is holding up Boris Johnson's new energy policy.

The Prime Minister is expected to announce his energy security plans later this week, giving the go-ahead to fracking and coal mining, as well as using North Sea oil and gas reserves.

However, a Downing Street source admitted the policy announcement, while "likely" to happen this week, may be delayed again.

Another senior source told the Sunday Express: "There is a massively split Cabinet on this issue. Unsure of the direction of travel, a solution must be found this week."

The policy is meant to tackle the energy security crisis caused by Russia's war in Ukraine and help to wean Britain and the EU off Russian gas. But it is also aimed at solving the problem of rising energy bills linked to the cost of living crisis.

It comes as Tory backbenchers pile pressure on the Government to allow the use of £1trillion of oil and gas reserves in the North Sea that can be found through fracking.

With energy bills now increasing by £700 per household - taking the average annual bill to almost £2,000 - Mr Johnson and his Chancellor Rishi Sunak face calls to act quickly. They have also acknowledged that the UK needs to be self-sufficient.

To this end, the North Sea can help provide "secure, safe energy" for the next 50 years while also helping meet climate change targets, the head of a key industry body said.

Oil, gas and wind power were all part of an energy package outlined by Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Offshore Energies UK.

She said: "Our industry has provided the UK with secure, safe energy for the past five decades and we can do the same for another five decades, while also helping the nation reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

"This will only happen with careful planning, preparation and investment.

"Energy infrastructure projects take years or even decades, and our industry is used to thinking on those timescales."

And writing last month for the Sunday Express, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng made it clear that the Government now believes the UK will use its North Sea reserves "for decades to come".

On the same weekend, the Prime Minister gave his strongest hint yet that he will allow fracking, having previously blocked exploration for natural gas.

MPs are concerned that the way Net Zero is calculated discriminates against British fossil fuels. If the UK imports gas from Norway, the carbon footprint is calculated for Norway.

But if the UK burns its own gas the carbon footprint counts for the UK, even though it makes no difference to the environment.

North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen said: "We have got to use our fossil fuels to buy us time to go to Net Zero.

"We have 50 years of supply of gas which we can sell to Europe so they are less reliant on Russia. It gives us the 10 years needed to build a modular nuclear power supply."
2) Toyota threatens to pull out of UK manufacturing over net-zero plans
The Sunday Times, 3 April 2022


Toyota, the world’s largest carmaker, has warned Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, that it may cease manufacturing in Britain after 30 years unless the government waters down its “green” policies mandating a rapid switch to pure electric vehicles.

The threat to the future of 3,000 jobs at the factory in Burnaston, Derbyshire, and the engine plant at Deeside in north Wales comes as the Department for Transport (DfT) prepares to impose targets requiring a rising percentage of new car and van sales to be zero-emission models each year from 2024.

Firms that fail to meet the threshold under the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate will have to pay a penalty or buy credits from rivals, such as Tesla, that exceed the target.

Neither the quotas nor the penalties have yet been made public, but pure electric cars, known as battery electric vehicles, accounted for 11.6 per cent of the market and are forecast to grow to a remarkable 59 per cent of the new car market by 2026-27, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Toyota sold more than 100,000 vehicles in the UK in 2021, when sales were depressed by Covid-19. If the penalty was £1,000 per vehicle and Toyota missed the quota by 30,000 vehicles, the charge would be £30 million. There will also be targets for CO2 levels for petrol and diesel sales to prevent a firm selling gas-guzzlers alongside compliant electric cars.

It is understood that Toyota in the UK has told Shapps of its concerns about his plans for the transition phase, when sales of new petrol and diesel cars are banned after 2030. Sales of new hybrid vehicles will still be permitted until 2035, provided they meet standards that have not yet been announced. This could include the requirement of a minimum electric range, or for a plug-in facility, rather than Toyota’s self-charging petrol-electric hybrids.

Whitehall sources confirmed Toyota’s warning but said ministers feel there is an element of “sabre rattling” and “prepping the battlefield”, with Toyota trying to gain control of the EV timetable to its own advantage.

Toyota has bet heavily on hybrid technology since the launch a quarter of a century ago of the Prius, the first mass market petrol-electric hybrid. It has been making a new version of the Corolla, a hybrid, at Burnaston in Derby since 2019. The firm’s decision in 1989 to establish a car plant in Britain was a triumph for Margaret Thatcher, who had wooed Nissan to come to Sunderland in 1986. The first car rolled off the Burnaston production line in 1992.

Last December Akio Toyoda, the president of the car giant, announced a strategic shift: “I wasn’t interested in Toyota’s EVs until now. But now I’m interested in future EVs.” He said that the firm would pour $35 billion into electric vehicles, with 30 models launched by 2030, and a goal of 3.5 million sales by then.

Toyota UK did not comment directly on its warnings to Shapps, but said in a statement: “We will continue to approach any discussion with the UK government based on constructive and respectful dialogue. Wherever we operate, our philosophy is to always abide by the emission regulatory standards set by governments. We continue to see a role for many different technologies in the transition to zero emissions based on the principle of mobility for all — including the current hybrid vehicles built in the UK (of which the vast majority are exported to Europe).”

It said it planned to “be ready” to sell all of its vehicles with zero emissions by 2035 in the UK and western Europe.

“We are focused on achieving a long-term and sustainable future ... as we move towards our ultimate goal of securing carbon neutral operations,” the company added. “Having invested £240 million in our UK operations to produce the current Corolla models, we are not due to make imminent investment decisions regarding local manufacturing.”

The DfT did not respond to requests for comments on Toyota’s threat but said: “The design of the ZEV mandate is still being developed and we will share more detail on its potential shape with industry this spring. We remain committed to providing the sector with certainty as we create sustainable economic growth, boost job opportunities and clean up the air in our towns and cities.”
3) Government in talks to build ‘hundreds’ of mini-nuclear reactors across UK
The Sunday Telegraph, 3 April 2022
A US energy developer backed by a fund linked to Elon Musk is in talks with the Government to build a fleet of small nuclear reactors across the UK.

Last Energy wants to build its first “mini-nuclear” power plant by 2025 and has identified its first site in Wales, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

The company intends to spend £1.4bn on 10 reactors by the end of the decade. Last Energy’s end goal is to build “hundreds of plants” across the UK, sources close to the company said.

The proposals are a direct challenge to Rolls-Royce, which is racing to secure approval for its own British-made fleet of mini reactors.

Last Energy is one of 12 select investments by start-up backer Gigafund.

Three of these – SpaceX, The Boring Company, and Neuralink – are founded by Mr Musk, 50, the world’s richest person and chief executive of electric car maker Tesla.

Gigafund’s managing partner Luke Nosek sits on the board of SpaceX, the rocket company which made its maiden civilian voyage in September last year.

Mr Musk, worth an estimated $287bn (£220bn), has made little secret of his support for nuclear energy.

Last month, he said on Twitter: “It is now extremely obvious that Europe should restart dormant nuclear power stations and increase power output of existing ones… This is critical to national and international security.

“For those who (mistakenly) think this is a radiation risk, pick what you think is the worst location. I will travel there [and] eat locally grown food on TV. I did this in Japan many years ago, shortly after Fukushima. Radiation risk is much, much lower than most people believe.”

Last Energy met with Government aides last week to discuss plans.

Its reactors are considerably smaller than those of competitors and are forecast to cost £50m and are prefabricated before being transported by 80 lorries, company insiders claimed.

Each plant is the size of a football pitch and the height of a double-decker bus – roughly half the size of rival reactors proposed by Rolls.

Representatives from Last Energy are believed to have told Whitehall officials that they want the UK to be the company’s “test bed” and insist that its plants will be up and running years before Rolls-Royce.

It is believed to have asked the Government for a commitment to pay £75 per MWh, considerably less than the £92.50 that the UK is locked in to paying the much larger Hinkley Point C nuclear plant once it is up and running.

Rolls-Royce is throwing its engineering prowess behind so-called small modular reactors (SMR). Last year it received more than £200m in taxpayer support to develop the plants.

SMR use nuclear fission but are smaller than conventional counterparts. Currently, about 16pc of UK electricity generation comes from nuclear power.
Full story
4) Stephen Glover: Net Zero can wait. If we are to survive at all, we must ditch the Green dogma
Daily Mail, 4 April 2022


When the Government finally publishes its much delayed energy strategy, probably on Thursday, it should carry an apology for all the mistakes which it and its predecessors have made over the past two decades.

In the midst of a worldwide energy crisis caused by Russia's war in Ukraine, these missteps have made this country especially vulnerable to escalating gas and electricity prices, as well as possible shortages.

The Government's apology might go something like this...

We're sorry that, under pressure from the Green lobby, decisions were taken to shut down coal power stations without creating adequate affordable alternatives, the more so as there are vast coal reserves in the UK.

In particular, we regret that little has been done to develop new nuclear power stations, though it has long been known that our existing nuclear power stations will soon reach the end of their natural life.

We also acknowledge that, insofar as any thought was given to a new generation of nuclear power stations, it was extremely foolish to rely on a company controlled by the Chinese state.

Furthermore, we can now see that it was premature to ban fracking in England in 2019.

As a result of an idiotic devolution settlement, the Scottish and Welsh administrations had previously vetoed fracking.

We were wrong to follow suit without properly weighing the arguments.

Fracking may not be without risks, but we now see that these have been greatly exaggerated by the Greens.

Indeed, it is probably environmentally less damaging than onshore wind power, which the Greens continue to champion, oblivious to its effect on the countryside and nature...

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the Government said something like that?

Fat chance.

We can be certain that, as it confidently lays out its new energy strategy, there won't be the slightest acceptance of past errors.

All that can be said by way of consolation — and it isn't much — is that the German government has got itself into an even bigger mess, with its reliance on Russian gas and oil imports, and its rejection of new nuclear power stations.

In Berlin, there is serious talk of energy rationing.

The mistakes of the British State can be easily summarised.

Energy security has been sacrificed on the altar of Green ideology.

Of course we should decarbonise, though remember that this country is responsible for only one per cent of all global emissions.

But the process towards net zero shouldn't proceed at such a rate that people face the prospect of astronomical energy bills, whose small print they may end up studying with the help of a flickering candle.

I wish I believed that the Government had learnt from past errors, but I fear it has only partially done so.

In one respect, it may be about to make things worse.

One of the relatively rare achievements of David Cameron's administration was to make the erection of onshore wind farms in England impractical if there is local opposition.

The Tories realised that most people don't like to see the countryside disfigured by turbines almost as high as St Paul's Cathedral.

Wind turbines are not only ugly. They are also noisy, and present a hazard to birds, killing many thousands every year.

Why don't the Greens care more about that?

Over recent days, there have been disquieting media reports that Boris Johnson and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng want onshore wind power in the UK to double by 2030, and treble by 2035.

The rights of local people in England to object might have to be watered down, though Government sources deny this.

Several Cabinet ministers are unhappy.

One of them, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, made clear his displeasure during a TV interview yesterday.

Dozens of Tory MPs are against wind turbines.

We'll have to wait and see exactly what the Government proposes.

How strange that Conservatives, of all people, should contemplate facilitating the ruination of vast tracts of unspoiled countryside!

It's not just about aesthetics.

Wind turbines are unreliable producers of energy.

They're effective when the wind is blowing but useless when it isn't.

As Matt Ridley recently pointed out in these pages, in 2020 less than 4 per cent of the UK's primary demand for energy was supplied by wind power.

Zealots who defend wind power (they are not infrequently beneficiaries of lavish government grants) claim that methods of storing electricity are becoming less expensive, and so it won't matter if the wind doesn't blow.

As things stand, though, these costs remain high.

So we should be alarmed by reports that Boris Johnson, who loves huge projects, would like to carpet the Irish Sea with turbines.

When the danger to birds was pointed out to him, he is said to have asked why they can't learn to fly higher.

What is certain is that neither offshore nor (God forbid) onshore wind turbines can provide a solution to the energy crisis.

Their main advantage is that they take less time to set up than alternatives.

But what is the good of that if they aren't fully effective?

More dependable sources are needed.

To be fair to the Government, it has grasped the need to develop nuclear power.

Kwasi Kwarteng suggested yesterday that up to seven new nuclear power stations could be built as part of Britain's quest to become self-sufficient in energy.

There is also the idea of building smaller nuclear reactors.

Rolls-Royce is racing to secure approval for its own mini reactors.

A company linked to American multi-billionaire and serial entrepreneur Elon Musk has its own proposals for even smaller reactors.

The problem with all these nuclear plans, sensible though they undoubtedly are, is that they are likely to take a decade or more to come to fruition.

In the meantime, the lights could go out.

That is why the Government must take another look at fracking, which could supply a rapid bonus.

Let's hope that the energy strategy will contain a commitment to do so.

Ministers have also indicated that efforts will be made to ramp up North Sea gas and oil production, where there are significant untapped reserves.

This commitment is likely to be included in the energy strategy.

If it is, the Green lobby will squeal with rage.

In fact, although some Greens may accept the expansion of nuclear power, and virtually all will cheer more wind turbines whether offshore or onshore, many will vigorously object to the Government's overall energy strategy.

Any plans to reverse the decline in North Sea production and to undo the moratorium on fracking — if the Government has the guts to put it in — will lead to much beating of breasts by the Greens.

To which I say: so what?

Net zero can come later.

For the next few years, we are talking about survival — about people's ability to heat and light their homes at a reasonable cost, and for the economy to function.

Numerous mistakes have been made, usually as a result of putting greenery in front of practical considerations.

Maybe Vladimir Putin's monstrous behaviour will serve as a wake-up call, and our rulers will at last show a little common sense.
5) Camilla Tominey: Net Zero is a conspiracy against British voters
The Daily Telegraph, 2 April 2022


The proportion of those unhappy to pay more to achieve net zero is rising, but the Westminster consensus shows no signs of changing

The law has never looked like more of an ass than in the decision by a court to issue an interim driving disqualification to a mother who used her Range Rover gently to nudge Insulate Britain protesters who were blocking the road.

Sherrilyn Speid, 35, of Grays, Essex, pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving when she appeared at Southend Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

She had been on her way to drop her child off at school when she came across an Insulate Britain protest near the M25 last October at about 8.30am.

Two members of the group, wearing high-vis jackets, were seen sitting in front of her vehicle while another stood in front of it, holding on to the bonnet.

The scene was caught on camera by a passer-by and heavily bleeped footage was shown in court in which Ms Speid shouted: “Move out the way. I’m not joking, my son needs to get to school and I need to get to work.”

It is clear whose side the public are on here.

And this applies more generally to the green debate, as well. A recent survey found that nearly half (48 per cent) of the population thinks higher energy bills are not a price worth paying to achieve net zero – compared with just 20 per cent who said they were.

The proportion of those unhappy to pay more to achieve net zero has risen from 40 per cent when Redfield and Wilton Strategies last asked that question in October.

With energy prices up more than 50 per cent from yesterday, the net zero dream is about to become a nightmare for us all.

But do the politicians see that? Of course not. As the public is confronted with the cost of decades of political complacency on energy policy, the consensus in Westminster remains overwhelmingly that net zero must stay.
6) JJ Charlesworth: Net Zero insanity is turning London into a wasteland of ugly buildings
The Daily Telegraph, 2 April 2022


The creative spark of 20th-century architecture has been extinguished by a series of empty glass boxes – and eco-nonsense is to blame

Take a stroll across London’s Millennium Bridge, and you might spot hoardings advertising the virtues of the new Millennium Bridge House, which is being built out of the half-demolished remains of the old one – a large slab of pinkish post-modernism designed by the then-ubiquitous London architect Richard Seifert, and largely ignored by passers-by since it was built in 1988.

The hoardings heralding the new building, however, speak in an opaque, jargon-filled language: the New Millennium Bridge House will have “regenerative lifts”, whatever they are. It will have a “24-hour, highly efficient chilled water plant” and a “heat recovery thermal storage system”, and – weirdly – “openable windows”.

What the new Millennium Bridge House won’t have, however, is style. Architectural style – a commitment to aesthetic values and visual taste – used to be a thing. Post-modernism, an eclectic, playful remix of historically literate quotation and pop-cultural irony, rebelled against modernist architecture’s dour repression of ornament, decoration and traditional materials.

It certainly made its mark in 1980s London. From James Stirling’s No 1 Poultry, to the eggs of TV-AM’s Camden Studios, taking delight in how a building looked, and the idea that people might enjoy looking at it too, used to matter. Love or loathe postmodernism, it was the last great architectural style this country has seen, before the puritanical blend of engineering-first techno-faddism and then environmentalist handwringing steadily did away with formal creativity and decorative indulgence.

Architectural blandness and utilitarianism are, of course, being rebranded as environmentally responsible. Millennium Bridge House, designed by Piercy & Co, is publicised, rather desperately, as “London’s latest riverside landmark”. It wouldn’t be spiteful to say that the design has all the landmark status of a stack of pizza cartons.

It’s not its fault. While the architectural profession has steadily abdicated what was left of its creativity and brains to the commercial imperatives of developers and the dismal censoriousness of planning committees, the growing obsession with climate change, sustainability and net-zero has made architectural thinking all but redundant. You no longer need to make a building look good, or be a pleasure to work or live in – you just need to demonstrate that it’s doing its bit to meet green targets.

The aesthetic emptiness steadily colonising our cities can only get worse as green credentials become the be-all-and-end-all of building, while the fixation with carbon emissions means that even knocking things down to build better buildings is frowned upon. “Retrofitting” – the fiddly and costly business of re-fitting the already existing bones of old building with more modern materials – means that architecture is reduced to recycling ruins. Millennium Bridge House is just one such reclamation job – others include the bland bunker that is Euston’s 1 Triton Square, and the proposed overhaul of the Square Mile’s Baltic Exchange Building. Any creative rethinking of space, form or structure becomes superfluous.

Retrofitting drives our more dismal visions of a net zero future – Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s VAT cuts on “energy saving materials” only provoked critics to insist that zero VAT should be applied to the whole retrofit process, to kickstart the insulation of Britain’s hopelessly antiquated housing stock. No matter that almost a million homes would have to be retrofitted every year to insulate us all by 2050, an impossible task in a country that can barely build the quarter-million new homes it already needs: the only architectural prospect in view is a country full of the same Victorian buildings, slowly crumbling, and only internally clad to make our shrinking living spaces that bit tinier.

And even if one gets to build something new, rather than retrofit the skeletons of old buildings, the only style will be the non-style generated by green criteria. You can see it already in buildings such as the Riverwalk block at Vauxhall Bridge or Triton Square: faceless volumes dotted with miserly windows recessed into the over-thick walls; bunker-like edifices requiring (ironically) more material to build, to keep the heat in. And don’t go opening any windows.

The deranged obsession with green architecture is a huge displacement activity from the more serious problem of our equally green-fixated energy policy, which has already decided that the energy we need for living will have to be scarce in the future. The architectural style – big spaces, of elegant forms, opulent detailing, decoration, frivolous fun and even (whisper it) openable windows – won’t long survive the zero-aesthetic of net zero.
7) Francis Menton: China continues to laugh at Western "green energy" foolishness
Manhattan Contrarian, 2 April 2022
Two recently-issued reports paint the picture of a real world of ever-increasing fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions. Both reports underscore the complete absurdity of the ongoing green energy foolishness of the West.
With an energy cost crisis now striking Europe and to a lesser extent the U.S., some cracks have begun to appear in the “net zero” utopian dreams being pursued almost universally by Western politicians. Nevertheless, at this writing, the rapid elimination of use of fossil fuels, supposedly to fight “climate change,” remains official government policy throughout Europe, at the federal level in the U.S., in most blue American states, and as well in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Here in the U.S., although President Biden has ordered some temporary measures like release of some oil from the nation’s strategic reserves, the full federal bureaucracy remains under orders from the top to force reduction in production and use of fossil fuels in every way it can devise. Meanwhile, states like New York and California have rapidly approaching legal deadlines for shuttering all fossil fuel power plants, prohibiting all automobiles other than electric ones, banning natural gas for heating and cooking, and otherwise quickly upending the last century of energy progress that has made our lives affordable and enjoyable.

We are supposed to believe that the official fossil fuel suppression policies will stop “climate change” and “save the planet” through the mechanism of rapid aggregate reductions of emissions of CO2 and other “greenhouse gases.” The rescue of the planet’s climate will make worthwhile our sacrifices in the form of higher energy prices, increased taxes to support subsidies to renewable energy, and restrictions on lifestyle.

But in fact, that narrative is all so much hogwash. In the West, twenty plus years and trillions of dollars of subsidies for “green energy” schemes have achieved only some marginal reductions in the share of final energy consumption derived from fossil fuels. Meanwhile, in the rest of the world, fossil fuel usage continues to soar.
Leading the way is China, which has used the last two years of Covid distraction to have its emissions leapfrog to new records. In the overall picture, the Western obsession with decreasing emissions, despite enormous costs, does not have any impact that is even noticeable.

Two recently-issued reports paint the picture of a real world of ever-increasing fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions (although there was a minor Covid-induced downward blip in 2020). In March, the UN’s International Energy Agency (IEA) issued its annual Global Energy Review: CO2 Emissions in 2021. Also, the Global Warming Policy Foundation has released its Briefing Paper 58 titled “China’s Energy Dream,” written by Patricia Adams. (Full disclosure: I am the President of the American Friends of the GWPF.). Both reports underscore the complete absurdity of the ongoing green energy foolishness of the West.

Start with the IEA. While it must pain them greatly as the good UN functionaries they are, the IEA gives us the straight information on the ongoing rise of world CO2 emissions, despite the strenuous efforts of the Western nations to reverse the trend:
"Global CO2 emissions from energy combustion and industrial processes rebounded in 2021 to reach their highest ever annual level. A 6% increase from 2020 pushed emissions to 36.3 gigatonnes (Gt). . . . Emissions increased by almost 2.1 Gt from 2020 levels. This puts 2021 above 2010 as the largest ever year-on-year increase in energy-related CO2 emissions in absolute terms. The rebound in 2021 more than reversed the pandemic-induced decline in emissions of 1.9 Gt experienced in 2020. CO2 emissions in 2021 rose to around 180 megatonnes (Mt) above the pre-pandemic level of 2019."
Here is the IEA’s chart of world emissions since 1900:

To summarize the chart, the Western obsession with “green energy” and “renewables” since about 2000 has gone along with a 50% increase in annual world CO2 emissions, from 24.3 Gt in 2000 to 36.3 Gt in 2021.
So what is driving the recent rapid increase in world CO2 emissions? According to the IEA, it’s mainly China:
"The rebound of global CO2 emissions above pre-pandemic levels has largely been driven by China. . . . China’s CO2 emissions increased by 750 Mt over the two-year period between 2019 and 2021. China was the only major economy to experience economic growth in both 2020 and 2021. The emissions increase in China more than offset the aggregate decline in the rest of the world of 570 Mt between 2019 and 2021. . . . With rapid GDP growth and additional electrification of energy services, electricity demand in China grew by 10% in 2021, faster than economic growth at 8.4%. The increase in demand of almost 700 TWh was the largest ever experienced in China. With demand growth outstripping the increase of low emissions supply, coal was called on to fill 56% of the rise in electricity demand."
Ms. Adams’s report for the GWPF outlines the acceleration of China’s development of its fossil fuel resources, particularly electric power plants fired by coal:
"Beijing is not about to abandon coal, its most secure form of energy. In 2020, it accounted for 57 per cent of China's total energy consumption.  Last year, its 38.4 gigawatts of new coal-fired power stations was more than three times the new capacity built in the rest of the world. Another 247 gigawatts is being planned or developed, with more to follow. Last year, Chinese provinces granted construction approval to 47 gigawatts of coal power projects, more than three times the capacity permitted in 2019."
Observing China’s ongoing development of its fossil fuel infrastructure, Ms. Adams remarks that China has no intention of weakening itself by adopting goals of CO2 emissions reductions:
"The pursuit of CO2 reductions within China would serve neither the goal of preserving Communist rule nor becoming the world’s foremost superpower by 2049. To China’s leadership, it is a no-brainer. Carbon dioxide reductions only make sense for those it wishes to harm and supplant."
Every day I struggle to understand what places like California or New York or Germany or the UK — or even the entire U.S. — think they are accomplishing by restricting use of fossil fuels, while China, with population double that of the U.S. and Europe combined and a third of world emissions all by itself continues at full throttle to build more and more coal power plants. Maybe some reader can help me.
8) Irwin Stelzer: Soaring energy prices wake Joe Biden from his green dream
The Sunday Times, 3 April 2022
If it weren’t so serious a time, “I told you so” would be the order of the day. 

American presidents from Jack Kennedy through Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump have warned Germany and Europe about excessive reliance on Russian natural gas. In response, Germany continues to rely on Russia for about 40 per cent of its gas, has shut down its nuclear plants and banned fracking.
American oil and gas men have been warning President Biden on excessive reliance on the sun and wind while stifling development of domestic oil and gas resources as part of a programme to cool the planet and cater to his green left. He is now shopping the world for oil and will be tapping the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve for a record 1 million barrels every day for six months in an effort to bring down petrol prices and increase his party’s prospects for retaining control of Congress this year.

British economists warned their government that it was unwise to end subsidies to its major natural gas storage unit, a warning that was ignored and leaves the country dependent on hand-to-mouth deliveries of natural gas at sky-rocketing prices and its prime minister talking of relying on nuclear power, with the private sector to build 16 small modular reactors (SMRs) to fill the energy gap. Cost and subsidies to be determined. Fracking remains banned.

In short, position papers urging a reduction of reliance on Russian gas were ignored, leaving Putin de facto foreign minister of much of Western Europe. Then came the Russian president’s decision to end the geopolitical settlement that ended the Cold War.

Proving Woody Allen right. In his movie Manhattan, when a liberal at a museum opening suggests that a “satirical piece ... on the op ed page of the [NY] Times” should see off a planned Nazi march in New Jersey, Allen responds, “Well, a satirical piece in the Times is one thing, but bricks and baseball bats get right to the point.”
Position papers and data laying out the danger of dependence on Russian gas were one thing, but invading Ukraine gets to the point. The bad guys — Putin, Saudi and Opec leader Mohammed bin Salman, Iran’s ayatollahs — have western democracies over a barrel.

Biden, who removed Trump’s sanctions that halted the construction of Nord Stream 2, the war-stalled pipeline that still might increase Germany’s reliance on Russian gas, has done a pivot. He is doing his best to make it difficult for Germany and others to pay for Putin’s natural gas. He is doing his best to persuade EU countries to buy American LNG. He is doing his best to persuade the Opec cartel to relax restrictions on oil production.

That effort includes the removal of barriers to the delivery of American missiles to the Saudis, so far with no effect on crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s annoyance at being labelled “a pariah” by the president. Biden is hoping to strike a new deal that will increase Iran’s oil output, enabling the ayatollahs to buy more missiles to aim at the Saudis who will be using American-supplied missiles to shoot down the missiles Iran purchases with the dollars it gets from selling oil to America.

Perhaps most significant for the long run, Biden is recognising that his policy responses to the siren song of his party’s green machine are not what the US economy needs, certainly not within the time frame the greens have in mind.

His regulators have ended their stall on issuing permits for the construction of new natural gas infrastructure. His energy secretary is asking oil men to step up the development of America’s fossil fuel resources — “get rig counts up” — something they are beginning to do while hoping they don’t sink billions into energy infrastructure that will end up as stranded assets if greens get control of the policy machinery. He is allowing Katherine Tai, his trade representative, to fashion policies that, if properly conceived and implemented — a big “if” — can move the country along the path to a less emissions-intensive economy, freer of dependence on unfriendly powers, without crippling it now.

Politics and perhaps conviction prevent the president from falling off the climate-change bandwagon. But he now seems willing to slow it down to give investors, private and public, time to ramp up alternative sources of energy. That time might well be shortened by market forces that seem to have driven prices of oil and gas up to levels that reflect the security and environmental risks associated with their use. The risks that a too-intrusive government will duplicate the competence it displayed in the withdrawal from Afghanistan are obvious. But so, too, are the risks of continuing down the road we have been travelling.

Irving Kristol, whose wisdom informed policy debates for decades, distinguished between problems, which can be solved, and conditions with which we must learn to live. An energy-thirsty world in which prices are set in highly imperfect markets, and our adversaries control a large portion of the supplies needed to slake that thirst, is in the latter category. KBO.
9) Andrew Orlowski: Green zealotry is stunting technological breakthroughs
The Daily Telegraph, 4 April 2022
Perhaps the biggest problem of all to reviving innovation is green dogma. Net Zero means research funding is now hopelessly skewed by environmental ideology. 
Remember Ernie, the random number generator that has picked the Premium Bond winners since 1956? As a child, I imagined that Ernie was maintained by a mildly cantankerous but dutiful Englishman, not unlike Bernard Cribbins. In fact, I secretly hoped that Ernie actually was Bernard Cribbins, who each week would lick the tip of the HB pencil that he kept behind his ear, and bash out some numbers on his notepad. A grateful nation never knew the secret.
Ernie resurfaced last week as a solution to one of our most intractable problems. BBC Radio 4 was examning how the big inventions and breakthroughs that once seemed so frequent have become increasingly rare. Today, children take on-demand movies and smartphones for granted, but are astonished to learn that scheduled passenger supersonic flights were once a thing, moving people from London to New York in less than three hours. 
After the Second World War, medical research boasted incredible breakthroughs almost every year, such as fighting polio and child cancer, The Telegraph’s James Le Fanu pointed out in The Rise And Fall of Modern Medicine, a book now 20 years old. 

While new communications tools make it seem as if everything is rushing at us faster, in reality we largely do the same things the same way. Over on Radio 4, Sam Bowman wondered if our sprawling scientific research bureaucracy, which makes applications a soul sapping process, was itself to blame. So couldn’t we use something like Ernie, and just dispense the cash at random?
It’s a great question, but randomising the funding process is a frivolous answer. Proponents of the ideal like to cite Switzerland, which uses a coin toss to decide who gets some of its $1.1bn annual scientific research funding budget. In reality, however, the Swiss dispense very little this way – only around 3pc – and even then, only in cases where two applications are deemed to have equal merit. 
We know that no bureaucracy ever willingly abolishes itself, so if the random method ever proved successful, it would be evident that the experts who so jealously guard their fiefdoms today could easily be replaced by a coin toss… or perhaps even Bernard Cribbins.
The decline in blockbuster innovations deserves a much more serious treatment. It has been vexing economists and policy wonks for some time. As an inventive nation with first class universities that is uniquely well placed in global trade, it should concern us more than most, since we have more to lose if we fail to capitalise on our scientific and technical talent. Yet paradoxically, we have never employed so many people to fret over where the research money goes.
The reality of scientific research funding, private or public, is that involves a huge amount of risk. It has a high failure rate, and success can take decades to arrive. I’ve previously cited the LED, which took decades to perfect. 
There can be successes: our own research agencies bet big on the field of compound semiconductors 20 years ago – miraculous components that transmit power and light. Today the UK is a world leader, despite flogging the biggest and best known manufacturer to a Chinese-owned entity two years ago.
Shouldn’t industry do more? It does, but it also spends less than ever on R&D, often preferring financial engineering to real engineering. 
The semiconductor industry has fuelled growth in many other industries, but in recent years has been in trouble. It has failed to keep up with Moore’s Law, the principle that the number of transistors that can be built on a silicon wafer doubles every couple of years. The result being that individual computer chips get cheaper and more powerful. Up until a decade ago, it held good. But in recent years it hasn’t, as scientists run into the limitations of hard physics. The chip industry’s answer has been to make the chips themselves bigger, but this is a bodge that eventually runs out of room – quite literally.
Quantum computing will be the successor to today’s computer chips, and very small functioning “proof of concept” machines have been produced. But last week, one of the leading scientists in the field, with over a hundred patents to his name, Prof Sankar Das Sarma, sought to dampen the hype with some hard-headed realism. 
Writing in the MIT Technology Review, the professor pointed out that “it took 60 years of very difficult engineering to go from the invention of transistors to the smartphone with no new physics involved in the process”. Today we simply don’t know how to “scale” quantum machines so they’re actually useful.
But perhaps the biggest problem of all to reviving innovation is green dogma, expressed in the Net Zero commitment. Politicians now indulge in scientific fashion statements, believing that these “send a signal” to others. Net Zero means research funding is now hopelessly skewed by environmental ideology. 

At least some proponents, such as the BBC’s favourite economist Mariana Mazzucato – who gained fame for advancing the ludicrous proposition that the state, not Apple, invented the iPhone – are honest about wanting to divert money on ideological grounds to achieve what she calls “institutional and behavioural change”.

Compare too the £11bn of subsidies that medieval technologies like wind power receive each year, with the paltry £800m allocated to the new high risk long term research agency ARIA, Dominic Cummings’ baby, over four years. Not surprisingly, the subordination of science to Net Zero was not even mentioned at all by the BBC. But then it would be amazing if it had. Even Mao demanded more self-examination than today’s green zealots.

The London-based Net Zero Watch is a campaign group set up to highlight and discuss the serious implications of expensive and poorly considered climate change policies. The Net Zero Watch newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at

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